Week 5&6: Objects

After visiting the City Reliquary museum I found myself in a conversation with my cousin at a family dinner.  We were talking about how tragic it must be to lose your home in disasters like hurricanes or the wild fires that recently spread through California.  We noted how tragic it must be to lose all of your most precious items. Eventually we began to think about what object we would be sure to save in the event that our homes were threatened by a natural disaster.  My cousin began to tell me a story about a book her father got her when she was young that has made a huge impact on her life.

To view the story click here.

This thought experiment made my cousin tell me a really important story all centered around an object.  I thought that there were more stories like this that people must have so I decided to ask others what object they would save.  I created this survey and sent it out to classmates.  In the survey I prompt people to answer this question “Imagine your house was burning down and you only had time to grab one physical object, what would you grab?.”  I then asked them to elaborate on the object with a story.  While I got many responses, I found a fundamental difference in the types of answers I received in the survey as opposed to the answer/story I received during my conversation with my cousin. The majority of the answers I received for the survey were that people would save their hard drive or computer.  While some mentioned that their hard drive had precious photographs on it, most just said that their whole lives were on the hard drives.  Of course this was not the type of answer I was going for.  I wanted people to think deeply about the objects in their lives that hold sentimental value and are irreplaceable.  From there I wanted them to tell me a story centered around that object.  I found it fascinating how different these answers were.  Perhaps the way I asked, on an informal survey, was not the way to get meaningful answers.  Perhaps to get meaningful answers and stories you have to be there in person and have a real conversation with an individual.  This process made me think a lot about the process of story telling and how we extract good stories from others. The mode with which we ask someone to tell a story can dictate how formal or informal the story will be. 

I was going to make a website of all the objects and stories that people provided me.  However, the only real story that I had in the end was the one that my cousin provided me so I decided to just make a one page highlight story.  In the future I would love to continue this idea but think about how else to collect the stories.  Then I could create a website where everyone can explore the objects that we treasure.  

Week 4: Response

This week I read Chapter 3 of What We Made: Conversations on Art & Social Cooperations by Tom Finkelpearl called “Museum, Education and Cooperation: Memory of Surfaces, Ernesto Pujol, Artist and David Henry, Museum Educator.”  The project explained in this chapter took advantage of the changing environment of museums.  This concept of change in museums reminded me a lot of the change that is happening in school libraries.  More and more, as educational tools have made it online, school libraries are required to change their structure in a similar way.  I have witnessed libraries in middle and elementary schools being redesigned to serve the purpose of STEAM related topics.  In a way librarians today are really STEAM ambassadors for their schools that create a creative/tech outlet for their students.   Both libraries and museums have seen the value of collaborative creative spaces in educational environments and are beginning to modernize their old ways. 

Week 3: Podcast

For my assignment this week I created a multi narrative podcast.  I interviewed three of my family members and asked them to tell me the same story about how my parents got their marriage license.  I chose this story because it was one that has been repeated in my household growing up.  I think it is interesting how my siblings and I have taken the stories that my parents have shared with us and made them our own.  I wanted to test how the validity of these stories would hold across generations.  Thus I separately interviewed my dad, mom and sister and then compiled the interviews together into one cohesive story.  I really enjoyed making this podcast.  I found it interesting where their stories overlapped and where I found discrepancies.  They all made similar notes of embellishment like the blood on my dad’s white coat and the fact that my dad was so busy he couldn't get a hair cut.  These repetitions in their stories were the most interesting to record.  I can imagine this being a series where family members tell the same story and they stories are compared through edits like I did here.  I think this could be a fascinating way to track story telling across generations. 

To hear the podcast view this link

Song Reference: https://www.bensound.com/royalty-free-music/jazz

Week 2: Location Based Narrative

In response to last weeks field trip I attempted to make my own location based narrative in the form of a visualization.  I have recently been interested in data visualizations and have begun to teach myself d3.js.  I saw an opportunity with this assignment to implement a mapped data visualization to tell a story.  Initially, I wanted to create a website with the map of the neighborhood that I grew up in.  I would then populated key points on that map with stories about my life that happened in locations on the map.  Once I began to play around with d3.js I realized that customizing a detailed street map in d3.js was a little too involved for a first attempt at a mapping data visualization.  Thus, I altered my idea in order to accommodate my beginner d3.js skills.  Ultimately, I decided to use a data set about the Woman’s March in 2017 to show the scale of the event.  Using the data from this wikipedia page I created a csv file with the state names and the approximate number of cities that hosted protests and the approximate number of people in each state that attended the protests.  With d3.js I developed this website (Figure 1).  The size of each circle represents the amount of protests that occurred in that state.

Figure 1

Figure 1

When you mouse over each circle you are given more information about the protests in that state.  Figure 2 shows a demo of the website.

Figure 2

While I am glad that I used this opportunity to use some d3.js skills I do not think that this narrative is as in depth as it could have been.  I think that I let the technical side of this project get in the way of the actual meaning.  Since the technical side took so long to decipher by the time I incorporated data to tell the story, I was burnt out.  In the future I would really like to go back to the idea of the narrative about my life.  I see how that could be a fun way to show people stories about how I am and where I came from.  I even think it could be something like to embed into the “About Me” section of my website. 

For the project files go to this link.


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_2017_Women%27s_March_locations

  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNbgrqRuoiE

  3. http://bl.ocks.org/michellechandra/0b2ce4923dc9b5809922

  4. http://bl.ocks.org/mbostock/raw/4090846/us.json

  5. https://bl.ocks.org/mbostock/4090848

  6. https://github.com/d3/d3-geo/blob/master/README.md#cylindrical-projections